Other Pages To See...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Western Trivia

One of my favorite time-killers is trolling around on the internet and through my reference books looking for those hidden nuggets of information that I might use to enrich my writing and knowledge of the Old West. Recently, I ran across a couple of interesting pieces of western trivia and thought I'd pass them along.

First up, for many years it was believed that William Bonney (born William Henry McCarty, Jr.) and also known as Billy the Kid, was left-handed because of the tintype image to the left that shows him with his gunbelt hanging on his left side. At some point some history buff must have taken a closer look at the photo and realized there was a problem. You see, most tintype cameras produced a negative image that appeared positive once it was developed, which means you ended up with a mirror image of reality. That's exactly what happened in this famous photo. This was confirmed by the rifle he's holding. The gun is a Winchester Model 1873 lever-action. In the photo, the weapon appears to have the loading gate on the left side, but Winchester only made the 1873 model with the loading gate on the right. The rifle was the proof that Billy the Kid was a righty, not a lefty, as was assumed for many years.




On a different topic, here's something I found really interesting.The California Gold Rush of 1849 wasn’t the first gold rush we had in this country. In fact, it wasn't even the second.

Back in 1799, in Cabarrus County, North Carolina, a young fella named Conrad Reed found a big yellow rock in his father's field one day. Conrad had no idea what the rock was, and when he took it and showed it to his father, John Reed, he didn't know either. But the rock was odd so the family kept it and used it as a doorstop for several years, until a jeweler happened to be passing by one day and saw it. The rock turned out to be a 17-pound gold nugget. (Whew-ee! I just checked the market and the current value of that rock would be $442,312.80) As soon as word of the find got out, the rush was on. Congress ended up building the Charlotte Mint to handle the sheer volume of gold dug up in North Carolina. Later, in 1828, gold was discovered in Georgia, which led to a second gold rush. The third and most famous gold rush started when James Marshall struck the mother lode at Sutter's Mill in California. Thousands of men (and even some women) known as the Forty-Niners all flooded into California looking for their own mother lode, but very few ever left any richer than when they arrived.

Hope you enjoyed these little bits from our past as much as I did.

Happy reading and writing!

Devon

6 comments:

  1. Love Western trivia, Devon. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by and leaving me a comment, Alethea! I really appreciate it. :)

      Delete
  2. Loved this. Relatives in NC owned a mine. They don't own it now, but it's still there. Don't know if it's still in operation, because all of that family have moved wesr to TX, OK, and CA.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Caroline, how cool that your relatives once owned one of the mines! These overlooked facts from our history fascinate the heck out of me. Thanks for stopping by and leaving me a comment! :)

      Delete
  3. Devon, It is amazing how many gold rushes there were! Every time someone would find a significant amount of the ore there would be a rush to get there and get rich. And gold is the reason many Indian Tribes were pushed off their lands and onto less hospitable reservations. Great info!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paty, I'd always heard that the very first rush happened somewhere in my neck of the woods, but I never knew exactly where. It would be interesting to know just how many places rushes occurred, and how many of the tribes were affected. Add in the cattlemen who wanted their grassland, and they never stood a chance. Thanks for stopping by! :)

      Delete

Welcome to Romance in the Wild West! I love to hear from you so feel free to leave me a comment.